Next in the series of efforts to fact check the vague claims of “what your support for the IAS buys”. Of interest is that virtually no update of the IAS site has been done since 2007. The same unverifiable generalities are there from when the site was first created.
Kudos to Natasha Boris for performing the thankless task of wading through the bs to try to verify any smallest specific that may have slipped into the pages of the IAS website.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Part Two – Human Rights
by Natasha Boris
From the Human Rights Reference Handbook: “Human rights are ‘commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being.’ Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian.”
The section “Making Human Rights A Reality” on the International Association of Scientology’s website is perhaps the most nebulous and vexing in terms of claims and specificity. We have attempted to extricate anything that might have even remote substance that we could research on Google, but found the process incredibly frustrating. (Our hats are off to the IAS writer(s) ability to dissemble, filling several pages while never saying anything concrete.) If any readers should have information on any of these activities, please feel free to share in the comments.
“Human rights educational tools include booklets, teaching materials, the award-winning music video UNITED and 30 TV public service announcements.” The video United, created in 2005, by Taron Lexton has received awards, but according to IMBD only three. Wikipedia directed us to the website for TXL Films which lists 13 awards. On TXL’s site is stated “The United Nations Honors TXL Films” and awarded Mr. Lexton with the Award of Excellence. Anne Archer MC’d and Hans Janitschek of the UN Society of Writers was keynote speaker and presenter. Mr. Janitschek passed away in 2008. Searching “United Nations “TXL Films” we could not find any independent verification of this award that was not TXL, Wikipedia, or CoS related. Searching “UN Society of Writers” we found it is actually the UNSRC Society of Writers, a member of the UN Staff Recreation Council (a club for UN staff and families), and not the United Nations themselves. Their website does list some past recipients of the Award here.
Ø “Internationally, our human rights education program has been adopted by the national human rights commissions and governments of both New Zealand and Mexico, and has earned commendations from the United Nations Development Program and UNICEF.” Refworld.org consolidates information from the UNHCR. Several hits come up when searching for Scientology, many of these recent. We were unable to find any independent verification of New Zealand or Mexico adopting the IAS human rights educational programs on a Google search. We were however able to find this report on New Zealand, and none on Mexico. Regarding the commendation from UNDP, we were only able to find this link that gave specifics about it. Imaculee Ilibigaze has no mention of working with the UN as an advisor on her Wikipedia page. Searching her name on the UNDP website offers no hits. Searching the UN website no mention is made of Ms. Ilibigaze working with the UN to evaluate effectiveness of their programs.
In searching UNICEF’s website we found a 2010 report on activity in Haiti. Scientology is mentioned twice, and only as part of a list of groups who were “cluster partners” distributing needed supplies. We were unable to find any resource outside of the CoS to verify a commendation.
Ø With an astounding lack of specifics we have: “Beginning in 1998, the IAS sponsored a series of five human rights marathons in Europe which brought the Universal Declaration to the attention of both individual citizens and their elected representatives….Thousands signed the proclamation during the six-week journey and through personal contact, events and media coverage this human rights message was heard or seen by an estimated 33 million people.” This was too vague to search.
Ø “In 2003, notices ran in pan-European publications such as the International Herald Tribune Newsweek Time The Parliament and The Parliamentary Monitor.” The IHT is now owned by the New York Times and we were unable to locate any images of these ads on Google associated with any of the publications.
Ø How to Resolve Conflicts A Guidebook to Peace through Human Rights in sixteen languages. Both were distributed to human rights advocates, politicians, religious leaders and officials.” This may be true, but we have no way to verify without more specifics.
Ø “Most importantly, new public service announcements have been produced to reach millions with the message of human rights.” No information on distribution or where these have been shown is given, but they have been “produced.” The other link “vastly expanded human rights websites” comes up blank.
Ø “Thus, with assistance from the IAS, new facilities were acquired in Brussels to be the home of a greatly expanded Church of Scientology International European Office for Public Affairs and Human Rights.” A Google search on the International European Office only netted one news hit, a press release on a Musical Tribute to Black History Month. There doesn’t seem to be much activity taking place by this office that we were able to find. Given that it opened in 2003 we expected to see a few more press releases to back up the claim that “dozens of human rights conferences have been conducted by IAS members in Brussels itself, throughout Europe, and reaching beyond its borders to the far reaches of eastern Russia in Khabarovsk.”
Ø “For this reason, IAS grants have funded the printing of 230 separate editions of Freedom totaling 27.8 million copies.” Again, this statement may be true, but lacks enough specificity to verify.
Again, if any readers can help shed light on activity taking place by the CoS promoting human rights, please share!